The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is pursuing a new agenda to support and enhance the contribution of towns, small cities and areas that lie beyond the major capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra).
Two reports written by Dr Leonie Pearson (RAI) were released in June 2017.
1. Lighting Up our Great Small Cities: Challenging Misconceptions
This report is an analysis of 31 regional cities. There are a lot of statistics but the key message is that, collectively, regional cities expanded their economies by 3% per year from 2001-2013 and share a comparable economic performance with our major cities across the three key measures of Growth; Output, Participation and Productivity. The report debunks the existing myths about regional cities of low growth, being left behind in the knowledge economy and being too small to matter. However, achieving sustainable growth into the future will require a locally tailored policy approach.
2. Blueprint for Investing in City Deals: Are you Ready to Deal?
This companion report highlights that regional cities are now explicitly part of the Australian Government’s City Deals Collaborative Program. The report asks two broad questions;-
1. Are the Economic Engines ready?
2. Is the City Ready to deal?
It goes on to explain how to answer these two questions and uses evidenced based examples from the U.K experience.
The report also provides a “scorecard” on each city by measuring fourteen indicators across the four key criteria:
1. Business Dynamo
3. Workforce Engagement
The scorecard highlights our strengths and weakness thus providing a good baseline from which to build. For example, if we have a clear understanding of a weakness and we also have a great solution but not the means to effect that solution then perhaps a City Deal can be developed to implement the solution.
So what would a “Coffs Harbour City Deal” look like?
It would be a collaborative agreement between the Australian Government, NSW Government and the Coffs Harbour City Council that will make our city a better place to live in and do business.
Through City Deals, governments, industry and communities will develop collective plans for growth and commit to the actions, investments, reforms and governance needed to implement them.
Your Chamber board is keen to seek a greater understanding of this initiative and will collaborate with council and other interested community groups to ensure we create an opportunity to secure a City Deal.
As a first step, we are delighted that Dr Leonie Pearson has accepted our invitation to provide our members with further insights on the City Deals program, at the Chambers next networking function to be held on Tuesday 21st November. All welcome – we invite you to also come along and help light up our great small city! Please contact the Chamber on mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or www.coffschamber.com.au for more information.